Saturday, June 7, 2014


Using Less Memory

In an effort to make older computers more viable one must consider ways of using less memory. One of the most effective changes I've made on my quasi-old P3 system running vector linux was to switch from KDE 3.5.10 to IceWM. For memory KDE 3.5.10 needs roughly 41 megs and the much lighter IceWM only uses 4.5 megs of memory. That's a significant memory savings but there are other advantages as well.

Web browsing and even games were found to be more responsive after the switch to IceWM.

Kmail was replaced by using Gmail and the text-based email client mutt. The scanning program Kooka has been replaced by xscanimage as Kooka doesn't work with newer Linux systems using libusb.

The idea of using Trinity or XFCE as a way of using less memory is only effective if switching from KDE 4 or Unity, both of which are memory pigs. IceWM has a far smaller memory footprint and a better cost/benefits ratio.

I still use some parts of KDE 3.5.10, mainly klipper, kmix and konsole.

Unload kernel modules which are not needed, for example:
sudo /sbin/modprobe -r bluetooth

Repeated information requests can be automated using links or wget, and both
of these use far less memory than firefox.

links can be used in scripts for quick stock checks: (where $1 is the stock identifier)

links ""$1

Generally text based programs use far less memory compared to their graphical

In many ways firefox is one of the biggest memory pigs of them all and dillo is
my first choice among light web browsers that use X. The main problem with dillo is it can not handle https and javascript. Assuming one does not need either of those things then dillo is quite suitable as a web browser. Also when the computer is unattended I always exit from firefox so that it doesn't consume any cpu time which can be very high if the web page you are on has flash based ads!

Killing defunct processes and their parent processes will also help to free up
memory. It is worth it to periodically check for dead processes.


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